“The best day of my life was watching our mothers meet for the first time.” Indeed, an incredible sentiment expressed by my sister Lynn during a conversation we had several weeks ago, when she shared that her adoptive mom, Lucy, had just passed away a few hours earlier that afternoon. What more could I say than we were incredibly blessed to have witnessed it together, and far from alone.
This momentous initial gathering of nearly everyone from both families, soon after we’d learned of Lynn’s presence, took place at my parent’s house in Westchester a dozen years ago. To say that it was an emotional, incredibly surreal experience, which would change many lives, would be an understatement. The occasion felt magical, and clearly one might suggest that it was destined to transpire.
Of course getting us to that point, we later learned, was a dream that Marge, our birth mom, held close to her severed heart for nearly 50 years; one that eventually needed healing. The search process (conducted by a specialist in such matters), took months, culminating in an arranged phone call between Marge and a consenting Lynn.
Rather cosmically, while the search was taking place, Lucy was pressing Lynn to reach out to Marge via mail, provided with only her maiden name and the town in which she was raised.
A hand-written letter addressed to my uncle, inquiring her whereabouts, would ultimately make its way to Marge the same week that they spoke. Goosebumps anyone?!! Many of the details from their initial two-hour conversation would remain private, and rightfully so. The dissemination that such a significant connection actually took place; not so much.
My mom had phoned my two brothers and I separately, so that we could process this newly-revealed information individually; a reasonably compelling decision on her part. My first reaction, as one might expect, was of shock and disbelief, nearly dropping the phone. It’s not something that one expects to hear from a parent, let alone nearly 50 years later. Tears and joyfulness came next, with a million and one questions to follow.
Some of the comparisons between Lynn and I were eerily similar. For instance, we’d both created our own businesses, featuring vintage furniture and accessories; she a retailer and I a wholesaler.
On a subsequent visit to her home (and store) in Buffalo, I was blown away by the pieces she’d collected. Spot on with my own inventory. To my dismay, we also shared a common interest in resurfacing select items, literally transforming them so as to appeal to a more contemporary clientele base.
More importantly, I would come to find out during my introductory phone conversation with Lynn that much of her professional life has been spent helping inner-city at-risk youth; giving them much needed attention and love that they so blessedly deserve.
She too was moved to hear that I’d made the break from corporate in order to work with special needs children, and more recently, with the Head Start program here in Bridgehampton.
Of course I can only speak for myself, but despite not having grown up together, I most certainly feel a kindred connection with Lynn that I will always treasure. It’s a relationship that is based in the now, sharing life’s ups and downs.
She and her husband have raised three beautiful daughters, with the eldest giving birth to an adorable little girl this past year. It’s yet another blessing that Lynn and her mom, Lucy, were able to witness before she passed.